The life of Gladys Phanetta Smith began on May 17th,1942 in the town of Springfield, Missouri. Gladys was born to her father, James Barry and mother, Bernadine Owens. She was the eldest child of two children, her younger brother Floyd would arrive some years later. Gladys spent her early years in Greenfield, Missouri where she attended Greenfield Grade School, Middle School, And High School. While there she had many loving memories of a simple life where she was watched over by caring relatives and close family friends. Some of her fondest relatives were her Aunt Bebe and Uncle Jack, whom she spent a great deal of her childhood with. The time spent with her beloved aunt and uncle was her introduction to life in Oklahoma, the place where she would eventually find love, make lifelong friends, raise her children, and call home for the majority of her life.
On February 1st, 1957 Gladys welcomed her only son, Terry Lee Blakey. Terry was adored by his mother and although she was young, motherhood came naturally and lovingly to Gladys. Shortly after Terry, Gladys welcomed her three daughters, Marganette, Pamela, and Shelly into the world. Throughout her children’s lives, Gladys was the epitome of what a devoted, loving mother should be. Her unconditional love, and support for her children was evident by the way they adored and respected her throughout their lives.
Although her first marriage ended, love was not done with Gladys. It was while working at REDA Pump in Bartlesville, OK that Gladys met the true love of her life, Virgil “Techumseh” Smith. The couple soon married, bought a home, and settled in Vinita, where they remained until their passing’s, a mere 2 years apart from each other. Their 35 plus years together were full of all the things that make a life worth living. Fond memories, lifelong friends, loving family, and of course the unbreakable bond of a doting, devoted spouse.
Her bond with her three daughters was especially strong. Although her girls all relocated to Portland, Oregon in their adult lives, she made it a point to make annual trips to visit. These trips, filled with bingo, thrift shopping, concerts, and just time spent laughing and enjoying each other was often the highlight of her family’s year. While home in Oklahoma, Gladys enjoyed visiting friends and family, attending church, taking trips with her church family, thrift shopping, fishing with her husband, her grandson Rieco and his wife April, and riding up the highway with her buddies. Before their departure, it was not uncommon to catch Gladys and the other two “Golden Girls”, her beloved friends Francis and the late Glenda Downing, riding around on one of their many adventures.
Gladys was truly one of a kind. A loving mother and grandmother, a devoted wife, a loyal friend, and a kindhearted stranger to everyone she met. Gladys was also an active member of her community. A familiar and reliable face during many church, community, and school events, she never turned down the opportunity to lend a hand or show support by just being a familiar face in the crowd. A devout servant of God, whose faith and love to the Lord never wavered, Gladys was a dedicated member of the United Missionary Baptist Church in Vinita, Oklahoma for well over 25 years. The unconditional, undeniable love and kindness Gladys had for her family, friends, and community will remain intact in the hearts of everyone who had the privilege of knowing her. For so many, her presence brought a sense of comfort and love unlike any other. Her life will forever be a testament to the positive influence we can all be when we choose to live our lives with kindness, grace and most importantly, love towards one another.
Gladys is survived by her son, Terry Lee Blakey of Vinita, her grandchildren, Rieco Thompson of Vinita, Markesha Hill of Nowata, Stella Thompson of Tulsa, Marietta Brown of Tulsa, Ebony Nash of Portland, OR, Malcolm Means of Portland, Rachael and Cameron Stine of Zama, Japan, and Taylor Daggs of Portland, OR. Great Grandchildren Dominic Lee of Disney, OK, Marquez Riddle of Kent, Washington, Dayne Bowlin of Nowata, Adrienne, Cameron, and Maya Stine of Zama, Japan, Messiahs and Elijah Deweese of Portland OR, and Jeremiah and Isaiah Million of Tulsa, OK. Her beloved cousin Karen “Midge” Owens, of Nowata, OK, and a loving host of relatives, nieces, nephews, and lifelong friends. Also, her beloved pooch Toby.
Preceding Gladys in eternal paradise are her three daughters, Marganette, Pamela, and Shelly, her husband Tee, grandson Cameron, her mother and father, her Aunt Bebe and Uncle Jack, brother Floyd, best friend Glenda, and a heavenly host of friends, and family already embracing and welcoming her into her new heavenly home.
Services are under the direction of Luginbuel Funeral Home, Vinita, OK. Condolences may be left at www.honoringmemories.com or our Luginbuel Facebook page.